Circulation Services

CIR-1 Library cards for Montana residents

The library is committed to facilitating access to library resources for all patrons, regardless of age, ethnicity, education, income level, sexual orientation, native language, physical limitation, or geographic location. Library cards are free for all Montana residents and are able to be applied for in person or online. 

When applying for a card using our online application, photo identification and proof of current address must be presented at the library before the account will be activated. Accounts created online that are not validated within 90 days be suspended.

The parent or legal guardian of a minor, with child present, may provide their own photo identification and proof of current address to obtain a library card for the minor child. The library respects the role of parents and caregivers in the selection and evaluation of library materials and is not responsible for the borrowing of appropriate resources or content of a minor child.   

The library offers the following cards:

Card Type
Identification Requirements
Borrowing Privileges
Privilege Length
Community Patron 
(BILL-COM)
 1. Government-Issued personal identification 
  that includes name, photo, and current address.
OR
 2. 2 Forms of identification from list 1A:
 - One piece must have a photo & name
 - One piece must have current address or PO box & name
             - 50 Checkouts
- 20 Holds
- Access to all e-resources
Expires After 
3 Years Inactive Status
Temporary Borrower 
(BILL-TEMP)
1. 2 forms of identification from list 1B:
 - One piece must include current address or PO box.
 - Photo ID is not required
 - For renewal: 2 forms of identification from list 1B are required
                 - 2 Checkouts
 - 2 Holds
 - Access to all e-resources
56 Days
Montana Resident 
(BILL-MT)
1. Government-issued personal identification 
that includes name, photo, and current address.
OR
2. 2 forms of identification from list 1A:
 - One piece must have a photo & name
 - One piece must have a current address or PO box & name
               - 10 Checkouts
 - 5 Holds
 - Access to all e-resources
1 Year
Online Card 
(BILL-ONLIN)
No identification is required.
           - Access to library computers
 - Access to e-resources
18 Months
Out of State Resident 
(BILL-OOS)
Fee: $20/year
1. Government-Issued personal identification 
that includes name, photo, and current address.
OR
2. 2 forms of ID from list 1A:
 - One piece must have a photo & name
 - One piece must have current address or PO box & name.
                     - 10 Checkouts
 - 5 Holds
 - Access to all e-resources
1 Year
1A. Personal Identification Examples
(Card Types: BILL-COM, BILL-MT, BILL-OOS)
 - Expired IDs and electronic copies or reproductions are accepted.
1. Photo identification (must include name and photo)
2. Government-issued personal identification
3. Vehicle registration or insurance card
4. Voter registration card
5. Utility or phone bill
6. Bank statement
7. Tax statement
8. Rental receipt, lease, or deed
9. Personal check
10. Postmarked item of mail
11. Hunting or fishing license
12. Returned postcard mailed by library
1B. Limited Borrower Personal Identification Examples
(Card Type: BILL-TEMP) *Residents of temporary housing must have #12
 - Expired IDs and electronic copies or reproductions are accepted.
 - Photo identification is not required.
1. Government-issued personal identification
2. Vehicle registration or insurance card
3. Voter registration card
4. Utility or phone bill
5. Bank statement
6. Tax statement
7. Rental receipt, lease, or deed
8. Personal check
9. Postmarked item of mail
10. Hunting or fishing license
11. Returned postcard mailed to library
12. Documentation from social services agency confirming residency


Lost Library Cards

Cardholders will be charged a $1.00 fee for replacement of a lost library card. Every library patron is responsible for immediately reporting to the library when his or her library card is lost or stolen and also responsible for charges on it until the library is notified that it has been lost or stolen. 

CIR-2 Loan Periods and Loan Limits

Current cardholders, including those with non-resident cards, may check out books, music CDs, audiobooks for a period of 28 days. Selected new adult fiction and nonfiction will be checked out for 14 days. Selected DVDs will be checked out for seven (7) days. All other DVDs may be checked out for 14 days. Video games may be checked out for 14 days. Loan periods for Outreach services are set in relation to stops.

Downloaded electronic content will be available for the period indicated by terms of licenses granted by content providers.

Books and audiovisual materials may be returned to the Circulation desk or book drops at the downtown Library or COT, the Bookmobile, or Senior Homebound Outreach staff. Items such as tablets, book club kits, equipment crates, and cognition kits must be returned to a library public service desk. 

Current issues and other selected magazines, newspapers, Reference books (those whose call number begins with R, JR or YR), telephone books, Genealogy Room materials and Montana Room materials do not circulate.

Cardholders whose accounts show that they have unpaid lost or damaged items or accrued fees of $5.00 or greater will not be permitted to check out library materials. 


CIR-3 Renewals


Circulating materials may be renewed for up to two additional periods equal to the original loan period as long as no holds are waiting for those items. Video games may not be renewed. 

CIR-4 Holds


Patrons have seven (7) days to checkout holds once they become available.  


CIR-5 Claims Returned / Never Had


In the event that a patron asserts that a lost item was returned, but it still appears on the patron’s record, library staff will search for the item for 90 days, during which time the patron should also look for it. If the item is not located after the 90 days, the patron will be billed for the amount of the item plus the processing fee. If the item is found in the patron’s possession after the patron has paid for it, the library will refund the amount paid, less the processing fee, to the patron.

In the event of a patron disputing a lost or stolen item that they believe they did not borrow on their account, the patron will need to file a police report with the Billings Police Department. Once the patron has provided a copy of the police report to library staff the items and fees will be removed from their account.

In the event of a patron disputing a lost item that they believe they did not check out on their account, the patron will need to file a police report with the Billings Police Department. Once the patron has provided a copy of the police report to Library staff the items and fees will be removed from their account. 

CIR-6 Fines

The Billings Public Library is fine free for library materials excluding laptops, mobile hotspots, and video games. The overdue fine for these items is $1.00/day until the item is returned with all parts. Any unreturned part will be charged to the patron’s account. Other charges may apply as indicated elsewhere in this policy manual.

CIR-7 Replacement Fees


The library charges for lost or damaged library materials. For lost materials the total charge will consist of the replacement cost of the material and a $8.00 processing fee per item. For damaged materials an $8.00 processing fee will be assessed per item.

Replacement Prices:
Hotspots
      Device $100.00
      USB Charger Adaptor (removable)           $10.00
      USB Cord $10.00
      Power Adaptor $20.00
      Case & Insert $5.00
      Bag $5.00

Video Game Retail Price

Book/DVD/CD Retail Price
      
Processing Fees for Lost and Lost-X/Damaged/Repair Items $8.00 (per item)

The library charges for lost library materials and library materials damaged through neglect. For lost materials or those damaged beyond repair, the total charge will consist of the replacement cost of the material and a $8.00 processing fee per item. For materials requiring repair and/or cleaning, the charge will consist of the costs incurred in repairing or cleaning the item.

The Library will accept a replacement copy for a lost or damaged item.  The replacement copy must be identical to the original copy and have the same ISBN number or other standard identifying number as determined by a library staff member (in the case of non-book materials).  The replacement copy must be in new or “like new” condition with no stickers, stamps, or markings of any kind. 

In the event a patron returns a book or other item thought to be lost within one year of paying for it, the retail price of the material will be credited to the patron; the processing fee will not. Identifiers from damaged library materials will be retained by the library to be withdrawn from the collection and the damaged item will be retained by the patron if they want it. 

Patrons will be charged for lost/damaged interlibrary loan materials based on the charge assessed by the lending library. Additional fees may be assessed to recover costs of collection.